26 January 2019

[MB McCart] - Farewell to a Friend: A Remembrance of Joseph "Joe" Barr

Joseph Columbus Barr 
June 18, 1951 - January 12, 2019

*ed. note: I've written about Joe a few times here, here & here at TPC when he was dealing with our "esteemed" Ju$tice system. He was a special guy, and someone I cared very deeply about. Things ultimately were made right & Joe was able to live out his last few months surrounded by family & friends. What follows is a eulogy I sent to his family, and then his obituary. I know Joe has taken his reward in Heaven & that makes me happy. - MBM

Joe Barr was a friend of mine, and I loved him.

I pretty much remember the first time I met him. After all, he was a pretty memorable guy! Ridin' his bicycle up to the store, with a personality as big as his heart, I was immediately taken with this fella!

Our friendship was basically sealed that first encounter - we got to talking about music. Over the years that would continue to be one of our main areas of friendship. We were both guitar pickers, and we talked about that a whole lot, many, many times, over many years. But the big thing was the Blues! We both had a mutual love for that particular genre of music. Talking Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, Buddy Guy & others. Like me, Joe also had an appreciation for all kinds of music, though. Country, Rock, Rockabilly, and so on.

Joe was a hard workin' fella, too. I remember he'd stay pretty busy mowing lawns, working on folks' houses & doing handyman work. He liked to stay busy & sure didn't mind putting in some hard work. I'd get worried about him sometimes during the hot summer months. He'd come in dripping with sweat. I know at least a couple of times I'd insist for him to stay in the store for a bit in the AC & drink some water. But usually he'd be ready to go after just a few minutes. "Let me get back to it, Marshall," he'd say. Sometimes I could start talking about the guitar or the Blues & he might stay for an extra couple of minutes.

I just loved seeing Joe, and talking with him. I'd always smile when I saw that bike riding down the sidewalk. He was my friend, and I loved him.

It was so frustrating, as I know it was for many of you, to see all he had to deal with there for a couple of years. Truly an injustice, at least the "powers that be" got it right eventually, but it sure would've been nice if common sense could have prevailed back at the beginning, but unfortunately that's the reality we deal with. Things aren't always fair, particularly with the Justice system, and, if we're being real here - particularly when one is black. And I hate that. I truly do. It ain't right. It's not fair. But I suppose the silver lining is that things are finally getting better & we're starting to see some real criminal justice reform. I've been supporting this cause for years, but it finally seems as if real progress is being made. For what it's worth, I want all of you to know that Joe's memory will always be with me as I continue to advocate for this cause.

Also, I'd like to pass on that a lot of folks who have been following Joe's story were so sorry to hear of his passing. He's meant a lot to a lot of folks, but I know it's so much harder for you, the family. My thoughts, prayers & condolences are with you.

But that sadness is only ours, here in the Earthly realm. Joe has, as my Grandmother used to say, "gone home to Glory." He's in Heaven now. No more pain, no more suffering. So as we celebrate his life, I will continue to hold dear his memories, and keep working to try to help to make a world a better place. And every time I break out the guitar, especially when I'm picking the Blues, I'll be thinking about my friend, Mr. Joseph Barr.

Marshall McCart
Covington, GA 


Joe's Obituary:
Joseph Columbus Barr  
June 18, 1951 - January 12, 2019

On June 18, 1951, Mr. Joseph Columbus Barr Jr. was born to the late Lula Mae James and Joseph Columbus Barr Sr. in Jasper County, Georgia. Mr. Barr was raised by both his grandparents Mr Johnnie & Mammie Emma Barr. He grew up alongside his aunts and uncles: Ann Barr Smith, Charlie Barr, Carrie Lee Tinsley, Willie Mae Greenwood, Ella Florence, Johnie Jr., Mammie Lee Barr Henderson, Ola Mae Smith, William Barr, Jessie Barr, Richard Barr, Ruby Barr Banks, Emma Kate Norman, Walter Lee Barr, Arrie Barr Steward, Lester Barr, Mable Barr Smith and Mildred Barr Dennis.
Joseph loved music. He loved playing in his leisure time for his family and friends. He was somewhat of a music genius, because he learned to play both piano and guitar by ear. Mr. Barr went as far as 11th grade and proceeded to further his career in construction. He worked in the piping Industry for many years. Mr. Barr also loved helping his friends and family members around their homes. Fixing their cars, leaky faucets and even helping with gardening. He had a past time for fishing.

Years later, Mr.Barr became a proud father of a baby girl, Calla Louise Barr. Later on in life, he married Ms. Mary Nell Norman and gained three step children: Brenda Cospy, Jan and Dexter.

A blessing we all have had, a piece of Joe Boy in our lives, whether it was on our couch or just sitting at our tables. Joe boy experienced his trials and tribulations later in life. Through the years he gained a special friend, Mrs. Carrie White. He later joined Rock Spring Baptist church. He then further his education in Coastal State Prison, receiving a certification in Building. While there, Joe Boy strengthened his reading and writing skills. Lastly, his final days were lived out comfortably in Social Circle, GA.

Joseph Barr unites with his sister, late Geraldine Barr Lackey. He leaves behind loved ones one brother, Ernest "Jack" Barr; one daughter, Mrs. Calla Louise & Christoper Henderson of Conyers, GA; three grandchildren, Anngalic Barr, Adrin Barr & Malana Barr; two great grandchildren, Aniya Barnes, Kyian Holcombe & Skylar Grisham; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and tons of friends in Covington, GA.